Blood donations urgently needed across the country

NEW YORK (WITI) -- Recent winter storms and freezing temperatures have forced the cancellations of nearly 1,000 blood drives across the United States. Now, the American Red Cross says there is an urgent need for blood donations throughout the country.

The winter weather has kept potential blood donors at home, causing about 33,000 lost blood and platelet donations -- the equivalent to the Red Cross closing its doors, nationwide, for two days.

The organization says blood donors, especially those with Type O negative blood, are urgently needed. The universal blood type can be used during emergency situations when a patient's blood type is unknown.

"What we like to do is try and keep five days of inventory of all blood types, and we had dipped below two for Type O negative, which is really when the red flags go up," said Rob Purvis, Vice President of the New York Blood Center. "I would say now we're kind of entering a recovery stage, so because people have responded as well as they did yesterday and today, if we get a good push through the weekend, we will be back up to where we want to be."

Donors say although bad weather can be an obstacle, donating blood is always important.

"It's one of those really high-impact things you can do where you are saving someone's like, so I think it's really important, especially in times of need like this," said donor Bob Sun.

CLICK HERE for more information on donating blood through the American Red Cross.